July 25, 2015

Change CAN Be Painful...But It Doesn't HAVE To Be.

Life is about change. New chapters. God weeding the gardens of our relationships and comfort zones. Be grateful for those God placed in your life, those He removes from your life, and the unknown paths He guides you towards. His ways are perfect, and He knows what is best for you.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8 NASB)

Your choices won't always be received well, accepted kindly, or supported...because sometimes we have to grow away from things and people that we are comfortable with in order to be able to grow towards things and people that are better suited for our lives and hearts in the future. But if you know you are following God's calling for you, you can have peace. You can allow hurtful words, gossip, judgment, slander, and hostility to roll off of you with ease and grace. Because God does this for us, we do not do this in and of ourselves. We ask Jesus for his guidance and help to love others when it's hard, to surrender hurt and fear for him to carry, and to allow us to focus on how God sees and loves us. We focus on the fact that sometimes pleasing God means you will displease others here on earth. In a way, that is one sign of increased growth and maturity in Christ. When you are able to care more about following God than whether you will upset others with your choices, you will be freed to live out the abundant life and calling that God has for you. We do not do things purposely to cause chaos or sever relationships, but when that does become the result due to reaction of others, we can still have joy and calmness in the midst of it by knowing we are being true to God and to ourselves. Sometimes it is us that hurts with the decisions we have to make. We may ponder, disobey God, or procrastinate on something we know needs to be done because we ourselves are afraid of change. We are comfortable where we are, do not want to hurt anyone, and enjoy the place/position we are currently in. 

"For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn’t be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10 WEB)

We all have a heart condition. How we react to others and their behavior is a large indicator of the health of our heart condition. If we react based on emotion or we allow fleshly responses to dictate our behavior, we will have a hard time with sustaining relationship, friendships, or even family harmony. But when we can willingly accept that another person will not like our choices, will not support it, or will lash out because it is not the outcome they desire...it can help us to refine our own character by the way we choose to react (or not react) to it. If we simply pray for the other person, ask God to help their emotions and heart as well as our own, ask God to help us to surrender the situation to Him and give us peace and security in the outcome, He will. When we earnestly seek Him and ask for His strength, guidance, and grace, He is eager to provide it. May we remember to come to Our Almighty Father in each and every circumstance so that we can behave, speak, and live in a way that is honoring to Him, ourselves, and others. Keep your mind and heart focused on God and pleasing Him, and it will make it easier to bear the impact of the actions and reactions of others.

June 23, 2015


I could be richer...but I could be poorer. I could be thinner...but I could be heavier. I could be more attractive...but I could be less attractive. I could be more successful...but I could be less successful.

The list goes on and on. But do you notice the one thing all of those statements have in common? For every envious "I could", it has been followed up with recognizing a blessing of "I could"--showing that perception is half of our battle. If we perceive negatively then we become unhappy with our circumstances and we feel "less than".

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (James 1:2 MSG)

However, if we perceive positively we become thankful and joyful. It is up to us to change our perspective. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. It is not He that ever changes, it is us in our sinful flesh that choose to view our circumstances and situations in a way that can make them much bigger or more stressful than they truly are.

"And because of God's gracious gift to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead, be modest in your thinking, and judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you." (Romans 12:3 GNT)

God sees the good in us, even though we don't deserve it and are sinful and inherently bad. How much more does God deserve for us to see the good in all He does for us, to praise Him in every circumstance, and to remember our blessings--from the biggest, to the tiny and mundane? Because in reality, nothing that has God's hand upon it is tiny or mundane!

June 14, 2015

Feeling Insignificant In The Workplace (And Beyond)

We all should know that our ultimate worth and significance comes from who we are in God. However, as humans we constantly seek to feel acceptance, recognition, and significance from those we surround ourselves with. Lately I have been feeling very insignificant, invisible, and kind of like the peon of the company I work for. You see, my situation is kind of difficult to begin with. I am the only person in this company that lives outside the home office's country, and not only that, I live in a time zone with 3 hour difference. This means I never see anybody, I rarely ever talk to anybody, and I'm not included in much of anything.

As I mentioned before, we are not to seek credit, reward, or importance from anything or anyone in this world. But as flawed humans, it's our nature. We may know deep down that we are loved and accepted fully by God, that we are perfect and beautiful and rewarded by Him. But here on this earth our hearts and our minds seek the same thing from our peers, our family, our friends. Lately I have very much been struggling with my work situation, getting burnt out I suppose you could say. Feeling like I don't matter, I'm invisible, the last link in the chain, and that I have no real importance in the company whatsoever. It took someone very dear to me to say, "Debbie, you don't give yourself enough credit. Although it's not credit or recognition you should be seeking from them, you don't need it. But I understand it feels good to know that you matter and that yoy are an important part of something. They will never find anyone who will work as hard as you do, as many hours as you do, consistently working 7 days a week with rarely ever taking a day off for months at a time. Constantly covering other people's shift...anytime they ask, you always give them a yes. Adding other projects outside of your work hours on top of your 50 - 60 hours a week. Having to work way over the regular amount of hours that most people do just to be able to make it and never asking for a higher wage...and all just because you love what you're doing. Treating every single customer, no matter how nasty they are to you, with kindness, professionalism, and understanding. You are the go-to-girl. You're the one that's always there, you're the one that can always be counted on, and you're the one that makes sure that everything runs in the evenings, weekends, and all of those times that everybody else is out having their free time and living their life. You are never late, never absent, and never unappreciative. You need to think about that. They might not say it, show it, and you may not feel it. But you are irreplaceable, you are hugely significant, and it would be an extreme loss if they woke up one day and you were not there".

I thought about that and still didn't believe it. I am a dime a dozen, they would just go on the internet and find somebody else. But then after my friend's sweet words, God Himself convicted me. "He's right My Child. They would be hard-pressed to find someone else as dedicated and available as you constantly make yourself for them. I understand you don't feel like you are part of anything. You see them constantly giving recognition and posting about all of the people in the office, rewarding others, acknowledging others. You see the get-togethers they have and the closeness as a company that they embody. It makes you feel left out, it makes you lonely, it makes you feel like you're just a little person on the end of the computer in another country that they hold no value to. But you know, your friend is right. There are not many like you who would sacrifice having your own life, having your own time, to be sure they are covered every second that they need to be. Your consistency of not ever taking time off, month after month. What is one day a month? That is about the extent you take off. What is that to one person to be able to recharge, refuel, and just breathe?"

"You dedicate more time to work than even to sleeping, than to your children, than to your home and your errands, than to even having a life and being able to do things. If you for one second think that you are not valuable, you are not noticed, or you are not appreciated..my heart aches for yours that you feel that way. But you need to remember one thing. I see all, I know all, I value you. I know your heart, I know your dedication, and I know that you carry on your shoulders what most women in this world could not. Full time single motherhood, working almost double hours every week, taking care of a home and all that goes with it on your own, being the sole provider with absolutely no help physically or financially from anyone in your life. And yet you do this with a smile on your face and love for your children. You are home every single day. You are with them when they wake up and when they go to sleep. If you need to go somewhere, you take them with you. You're not out running the streets, doing drugs, prostituting, partying with friends, or so many things that a single mother of 8 long years would fall prey to just to be able to get away, to breathe, to feel like she actually has a life. Instead you are being a mother, you are being a caretaker to your home, you are being a responsible employee, and you sacrifice everything for yourself so that you can give to others. If they don't see the worth in that at your workplace or in you as a person, and even if you don't see the worth in that for yourself...know that I see it, and that is all that matters."

Psalm 139:1 MSG --"God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in!"

"Because in the end I am the one that rewards, I am the one that guides your path, and I am the one that knows the beautiful future I hold for you. Stay strong, use Me for your light, your strength, and your worth. I know that you are unique and special. Don't fall prey to the negative thoughts, the condemnation, or the ways of this world. You matter, you encourage, you inspire. Don't take your eyes off of Me, because whatever you're searching for you will never find unless you're searching Me, seeking Me, and holding Me close to your heart."

In that long conversation with God, I better understood what my friend was saying to me. I'm just going to be honest, we don't need validation from this world or from the people in it, but we sure seek it, want it, and it makes us feel good. I love my job, more than I've loved any job that I've ever had. Although I'm self-employed, I consider myself an employee. Because my world practically revolves around serving that company. I don't want to lose that joy, I don't want to lose the love for my job, I don't want to wake up everyday feeling like it's another day where I'm some robot behind a computer that nobody is ever notices. I may not ever talk to anybody, and if I do it's work-related and very short. I may not be involved in anything that the others are, I may not have the closeness and the Sundae Mondays and the Pizza Fridays, or whatever it is they have.

My one year anniversary is coming up in August, and honestly, I don't expect it to be remembered or noticed either. But what God has shown me is that all that matters is that I will remember it, I will recognize it, and I will celebrate it. Knowing that during this past year I have given more dedication and more hours and more love to a job than I ever have in my 40 years on this earth. And I know God is proud of me, my children are proud of me, and darn it, I should be proud of me! So let us not seek that acceptance, not seek to be noticed, or even rewarded occasionally for our efforts. Because if we seek that from this world, we will constantly be disappointed. Our hearts will consistently feel hurt, we will want to just give up and walk away, and we will never be satisfied. Our rewards come from heaven and our identity as God's child. We need to remember the blessings of Christ, that he gives us this ability to work hard, that he recognizes every step we take, every sacrifice we make, and every moment that we give of ourselves and don't get back. That's what matters. We ARE being noticed, our eyes are just looking in the wrong place for it.

Acts 20:35 GNB -- "I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘There is more happiness in giving than in receiving."

 You matter, you are valuable. If you are reading this today and you are feeling much as I do, about your work, your family, maybe your marital relationship...do something to refresh and renew yourself. Look inside yourself and remind yourself, write it down if you have to, of all the reasons you are valuable. What do you give to others day in and day out (whether recognized or not) that you know you are sacrificing daily, you are giving your all, and you make a difference? I take one look at my beautiful children, and I'm reminded of my importance in this world. Remind yourself of those things, remind yourself of who you are in Christ, and keep pushing forward. We're only given today, because that's all we can handle. And with the Lord's strength and guidance we can feel loved, accepted, important, valued, and strengthened to get through this day and to wake up and face the next.

June 11, 2015

Falling Prey to Busyness

As I am halfway through a 75-hour double shift work week, I have been strongly reminded several times the importance of balance and pace. It is easy for me to log on at 6 a.m. and work straight through the days until 6 p.m.--often forgetting meals, other chores needing to be done, and even using the restroom! If we're too busy to remember using the restroom, you know we've got problems!

So as I wake every morning I am strongly convicted by the Lord to remember to put Him first. If we don't put Him first, the rest of our day will sadly become scrambled, hectic, and frustrating. Only through His strength can we handle extra work hours, single parenthood, chores, errands, bills, the constant demands of life on a daily basis. We have Bible study this night, group on this night, kids activities on this night, school assignments on this night--and that's in between just trying to keep the house clean and work your regular job! It's enough to make anybody exhausted and want to run away.

The way we handle these things (and even find joy in them) is by coming to the Lord. Even if you have to do it 20 times a day and take just 5 seconds to say, "Lord, I need patience and understanding right now". I have had to repeat that morning, noon, and night these past several days and will continue to. What I have found is if I do not start my day with the Lord, if I do not come to Him continuously throughout the day with each trial that comes upon me, and I do not end my evening with Him...my days, weeks, and months are a lot harder to get through. I start my day and devotional time, giving the first 15 minutes of my day to just Him and I. This puts my mind in a calm place and my heart in a peaceful place so that even if I am attacked from the very first moment that I begin work, I will approach it in a beneficial and positive way, whereas I probably wouldn't have if I did so on my own strength.

Psalm 28:7 ESV: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts."

I come to him in petition throughout the day whenever something is starting to fester and I can feel it boiling up and starting to make me angry, hurt, stressed. I just close my eyes and ask God to please calm me, give me patience, energy, and determination to follow through with this day and be the best I can every minute. And then at night after the chores are done, the work day is over, the house is cleaned, the kids are in bed...that is "me" time. That is my last hour of the night alone with the Lord. Electronics are all off, all of the lights are off in the house except the one lone bed light on my nightstand, the house is silent. I spend an hour with my sole attention on Jesus--whether it be doing Bible study, reading a fiction or non-fiction Christian novel, or just sitting with my eyes closed in silence and listening for His guidance and giving time to feel His comforting and loving hand upon my shoulder. This makes all the difference in how I not only handle the day when I wake up in the morning, but how I will handle the next day as well.

Ecclesiastes 3:9 MSG: "But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift."

So let us remember that we are NOT meant to carry these burdens within our own power. The Lord's yoke is easy, his burdens are light. Our yokes are hard, and our burdens are heavy. We have to make so many different decisions, have so many different emotions, and have 24 entire hours in a day where things can go wrong or we can approach things with a negative attitude. Only through continually coming to our Father and through His strength, His guidance and His love, can we withstand the daily trials that we face.

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The decisions we need to make, the deeds we decide to do, the words we decide to use. Let them all honor and glorify Him and let us make sure we are living our calling and God's purpose every moment. That can only be achieved by coming to Him. He will be our strength, He will be our motivation, and He will be our sustenance. You can do this, God equipped and designed you for this long before he even created the world!

May 27, 2015

Christians...Search Your Hearts

Are any one of us better than the other? Does being a Christian make you a better person than one who is not? God affords us all the same love, forgiveness, and wisdom. It is just that some of us choose to take it, while others do not. That does not mean that we are wiser or more level-headed than those who haven't accepted Christ, because those attributes come from God alone. So just as we have embraced our Savior, those who are not Christian can come to know the Savior as well and obtain that same wisdom and level-headed thinking. To be honest, I know some people that aren't Christians that are the most wonderful people I've ever known. And I know some Christians that are the most judgemental, self centered people I've ever known. It doesn't go along with the label of being Christian, it goes along with where your true heart and desires lie. If they lie in doing the Father's work and in learning God's ways by living according to Jesus example, then that makes you a Christian. Being saved makes you a Christian, you have accepted Christ and He is in you. Just because you have not accepted Christ does not mean you're a bad person, does not mean that you are more lowly than those who have, and does not mean that you are less deserving of love, mercy, and redemption. It simply means that you have not reached out to embrace the blessing of Jesus sacrifice that he freely gave for you.

"Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven." (Jude 1:22 MSG)

He took the nails in his hands for YOU. He took the nail in his feet for YOU. He took the thorn of crowns and the spear in his side for YOU. He took the ridicule, the harassment, the disbelief, being spit on, and being tortured for YOU. And the ultimate price, being separated from the Father while taking on our sin. It is a heartbreaking thing to think that some may never either come to know these facts or accept them in order to find life in paradise and eternity with Jesus Christ. We need to remember not to judge or condemn those people, but rather reach out to them in love and kindness so they can see Jesus shine through in us. And for those of us that have accepted Christ our Savior, may we be mindful to look at our actions and our behavior as well. Just because we have claimed to accept Christ, just because we have been baptized, just because we are active in our church and at every service does not mean that our hearts are right with ourselves or with God. If you find something in yourself: envy, jealousy, judgement, conviction, condemnation... these are NOT of Christ. These are of the enemy and they are of this world. Just because we carry a Christian label does not mean we do not have to search our hearts so that God can continue to refine in us what sometimes even we don't see. We can be hurtful, without even knowing it.

"...and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first to be raised from death and who is also the ruler of the kings of the world. He loves us, and by his sacrificial death he has freed us from our sins." (Revelation 1:5 GNT)

The fact that we are Christians does not mean we are better than anyone else. In fact, sometimes we have more work to do than those who don't even know Christ. But it does mean we become righteous. Not in a way that put us above anyone else but in a way that should help others see love and pureness in our actions, our words, and in a way that pushes us to live our lives to honor Christ so others may clearly see the difference between those that live for the world and those that live for what is above and for what is to come. Be mindful of your heart, search it and ask God to do the same in you. Then let Him slowly take away those things that even you don't see that may be hurting others, that may be pushing you into a superficial or judgemental attitude...and most importantly...pray. Pray hard. Pray for God to give you a heart like Jesus, to blind you to the world's ways and your own opinions and attitude. To embrace only the love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding that Jesus gave us as an example. He paid the ultimate price and made the ultimate sacrifice. Let that be remembered every time we open our mouths, choose an action or reaction, and let it be what guides the way we live our lives.

"Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life." (Psalm 139:23 MSG)

May 13, 2015

Good Christians Say Yes

There's a need for service positions in the church, yes! There's a new group being formed, yes! There's a need for group leaders, yes! There is an opportunity to lead Bible studies, yes! There is a new book that can help you grow in your faith, yes! Isn't that the way that Christians are seen a lot of the time, as people who say yes at every opportunity because that is the 'good and right' thing to do? Not necessarily.

"Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed." (Psalm 37:3 AMP)

Sometimes saying yes to all of these things makes us unconsciously say no to God and what He has for us. When we put ourselves so much into our horizontal relationships, groups, and commitments that it causes us to lack our vertical commitment to invaluable time with God, following His will, and making sure we are prioritizing correctly in accordance with His guidance, this can lead to a discontent heart. Don't get me wrong...church service, Bible studies, groups, reading to grow in your relationship with Christ...all of these are beautiful and wonderful things. I will openly say these are all things I take part in. And so much more. But I am slowly learning to say no, and I'm learning that it's not a negative thing, it's not a selfish thing, and it's not something that you should feel guilty about. 

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28 MSG)

We can only give so many yes's to other things and people, and can only take so many no's for ourselves in the process. What good can we truly be for others (or even for God) if we are not taking care of ourselves? What good are we to others if we are not pouring into our own time and relationship with God? By saying yes to service and being included in fellowship and activities, we are doing something that very much pleases God and that definitely brings us great joy and reward. However, there does still need to be a balance between what we commit to outside of our home, and what we are doing inside of our own hearts and minds.

John 10:10 - "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."


May 6, 2015

You Were Born An Original

"Their circumstances are not the same as mine. Their outcome will not be the same as mine. His path for them is not the same as His path for me. Focus on the gifts He has given specifically to me, and not the gifts I see others using in their lives."

This is the dialogue I have to repeat to myself, sometimes daily. Remembering that it takes all of us using all of our gifts to make up the body of Christ, this is necessary for God to fulfill His purposes. Don't try to run somebody else's race, yours will have enough hurdles and joys of its own.

One of my biggest flaws is comparing my lack of what I feel I'm doing in ministry or in life or in service to the depth of what I see and hear other people doing. But God gently nudges me and reminds me of some key things I seem to always sweep under the rug. "That person that you're trying to measure up to, that person that is doing all of the things that you think you want to do, remember--they do not work a full time job. They have a husband who provides and who is at home. They have no children, or their children are grown. You are trying to enter into the same depth of service and tasks in a season of life where you DO work full time, and often double shifts and extra hours each week. You are in a season where you ARE a single mother and you DON'T have that other partner to help you provide, help you around the house, help you raise the children. Your season of life entails three children who are still very young and have years of raising ahead of them. How can you compare your race to someone who has completely different circumstances? How can you try to serve in the exact ways that someone in a completely opposite season from you does? I made you YOU for a reason, don't try to mirror the service or path of others. I gave you your own gifts, your own path, your own timeline in which things will unveil themselves. Quit reaching and grasping to mirror something that's meant for someone else. I have special things in store for you, and you are doing exactly what you are meant to. When you look at others, remember that you are only seeing a small window into assumptions about their lives. You don't know what goes on behind closed doors, you don't know that you're not hugely blessed beyond measure compared to what you think you envy about someone else. You are in unique circumstances, and I put you there or have allowed it for specific purposes. Just trust in Me. It's okay to question it, but just trust in Me. Follow YOUR own calling, live YOUR own purpose. You are in ministry every single day in your own ways and they are not meant to look anything like anyone else's. Don't just try to do what others are, but instead do what I called you for and what I guide you to."

Follow YOUR own calling, and encourage others to follow THEIRS. It will continually creep up on you, just as it does with me. That's how the enemy works, by trying to repeatedly put something in our heads until we start believing it. Don't give him that power. It often comes back to me and I say, "But God...I'm not married. I'm not wealthy. I'm not serving in church as much as I see others are able to. I'm not a size 5 anymore. I'm not filling my days with the right priorities sometimes." And each time these insecurities and feelings of inferiority hit, God sweetly whispers, "Beautiful child, stop looking at all of the AREN'T issues. I only see the ARE blessings. What you are is a mother, a nurse, a business owner, someone who's finally comfortable with her curves. You are an encourager with an amazing testimony to share, and someone who has a passion for knowing Me and growing in faith. You give back every day in faithfulness, leadership, and love. You continually seek the teaching of My Word. Do you think those things are not enough for me? Are they not enough for you?"

Sweet friends, there are so many more ARE blessings to focus on in your life than AREN'T issues. We can all use the gifts, talents, and treasures that we were awarded freely by God (which we know we are undeserving of, but should remain extremely grateful for), and we as a church body of people can knit them together like the tightest woven tapestry and help bring God's beautiful Kingdom to fulfillment. You are YOU. You are unique. You DO have a path of your own. Don't ever question that, don't try to be who you're not, don't try to measure up. You are already enough in God's eyes, you are endlessly loved, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Believe in that, walk your OWN path to arrive at YOUR calling so that you can live out YOUR purpose. It won't look like anyone else's, and it's not supposed to. Isn't that comforting to know that your eyes need only be fixed on Jesus and where your own feet are heading?

"You saw me before I was born.The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began." (Psalm 139:16 GNT)

"Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else." (Galatians 6:4 NIV)

"For just as the body is a unity and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form [only] one body, so it is with Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)." (1 Corinthians 12:12 AMP)

"God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10 ERV)

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." (Psalm 139:14 ESV)

March 23, 2015

Step Back Onto Your Path

It's happened again. You've gotten off track, lost sight of priorities and commitments, walked away from your path. The good news is, God is always right there to redirect you back onto that path and hold your hand the entire way. This has happened to me several times in my life, and most recently it happened again. As I stopped going to my church groups, stopped attending services, and kept telling myself that it was only for a week or two until I got everything in line and had room to breathe again - a week turned into two weeks, two weeks to three weeks, three weeks to a month. Before I knew it three entire months had passed since I had been to any of my groups, services, or connected with really anyone. This is called isolation. Please don't mistake it for depression, as I was still joyful and blessed, but just decided to go it alone for a while.

"He who willfully separates and estranges himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire and pretext to break out against all wise and sound judgment." (Proverbs 18:1 AMP)

Let me tell you first hand, we cannot do this alone, nor were we meant to. There's a reason that God didn't just leave Adam, he needed a helpmate and he needed companionship and fellowship. There is a reason that God designed the church body with so many different parts that are designed to come together and work as one. When we are going through times of trial or perhaps something emotional or even physical in our lives, our first reaction is often to just withdraw. We tell ourselves we will just study at home, watch services online, text someone every once in a while just to let them know we are still alive. For some of us we physically can't get to church and that's understandable, however, make sure you stay grounded not only in your studies but in keeping connection and fellowship with others. If you're having one of those good days physically and there happens to be an event or service at church, GO! Fight the discomfort, fight the awkwardness, fight the fear of rejection. 

"It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!

Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone, you shiver all night.

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped."
(Ecclesiastes 4:4-12 MSG)

In today's technology there are so many ways to make sure that you don't isolate yourself: TV sermons, livestream services, telephone, text, email...the list goes on. So I would encourage you, if you have fallen off path, kind of lost your own for spirit for getting involved and connected - grab Jesus' hand and let him walk you back down that path. He misses you, he longs for your company, and so do other believers who are your friends and church community. You think your presence doesn't make a difference, that no one will notice you if you're gone for a week, or two, or six? I know that feeling, I thought the same thing. Until others reached out to me in love, let me know that my presence was missed, let me know that they missed my smiling face and my input in discussion.

Those things make us feel special, wanted, loved, and valued. This is what you are blessed with when you come together with a group of other believers. You receive acceptance and are reminded of your value and worth, not only in the presence of God but in the presence of your friends and community. Spring has just started and what better way to refresh and renew your spirit and your commitment than to make a promise with God and yourself that from today forward, you will not isolate and you will not go it alone. Grab the hand of God, grab the hand of the person next to you, embrace those that are trying to show you love and making an effort to be in your life. 

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV)

Spring is a time of newness, growth, hope, and second chances. A time to flourish and begin again. Not just for the trees, flowers, birds, creeks and rivers - but for you, God's chosen and favored child. You DO make a difference, you ARE loved, you ARE worth more than the most chiseled diamond and the most brilliant ruby. Won't you walk with me, hand in hand, down this path that Jesus sacrificed his own blood to give us? Let's start fresh, stay committed and accountable, and grab ahold of this beautiful chance of a new start with everything we've got!

January 29, 2015

Making Prayer Time New

Prayer time is something that seems to be a struggle for many, but then seems to flow so freely for others. This should not make us feel less-than if we struggle with prayer in the following ways: making time, knowing how, making it meaningful (purposeful). This is because we serve a supernatural God, and as imperfect mere humans, we cannot comprehend how to even approach the King of Heaven sometimes. But the truth is, there is no right or wrong, better or worse way to pray. If you pray with a genuine heart, you believe that God hears you, and you truly desire His Will for your life…then my beloved, you are already a prayer warrior!

But maybe you long for more. Mayve you want it to be more effortless, more consistent, and deeper. Then it is a good thing you are here! Today we are talking about how to stir things up a little and make prayer time new and exciting! Here are some things you can implement (if you haven’t already) to work on strengthening that precious time with Jesus that is our link to Our Almighty Father. He longs to hear from us, so don’t let ANYTHING keep you from knowing that your prayers matter to God. He hears every word, sees every tear, feels your every emotion. Give it all up to Him, and know that He cares for you! So, let’s work on some steps for prayer:

1) Create a prayer journal - you can record your prayers and then follow up regularly to see how they were answered and recognize what resolution you have found with those circumstances. This helps us to remember gratitude and thankfulness. We do not want to simply let things be taken care of and move onto the next prayer; we want to remember and to praise the Lord with recognition for each thing He does for us, even well after the fact. He never wants us to forget His promises, or forget those He has joyfully fulfilled for us!

2) Pray the Scriptures back to God - when a particular verse or Scripture is laid upon your heart, write it down and then meditate on it to see how it may apply to your current season of life or circumstance. Then pray that Scripture back to God, asking Him to show you what it is He has for you through that which has been laid upon your heart. Meditate word-by-word and break it down, there is a reason He brings a certain verse pr phrase to you that seems to continually penetrate your mind and heart. Pray for your eyes to see and your heart to hear how He wants you to use that in your walk.

3) God enjoys humor - be sure to add something into your prayer time that makes you smile or laugh. Don’t just use this time to ask God for things and thank Him for things. Use it to share as you would with your best friend or spouse. Feel comfortable and free to say, “Lord, did you see when I tripped over that carpet today and landed on my face? Then I made sure no one saw me but made a point to go tell everyone ‘Hey, did you see that? I totally just tripped and fell’. Why do I do that, God…they never would have known if I didn’t tell them what a dork I am!” Laughing with God is beautiful, comforting, and REAL. (By the way, this example was a true one from me…yes, I am THAT much of a dork). I trip over nothing, walk into walls, and all the while look up at God smiling and say, “You saw that, didn’t you?” Now of course we know He sees all, but being able to have fun with God is so important. Prayer doesn’t have to be structured, serious, and routine. Bring ALL of you to Him, and you will find yourself enjoying time with Our Creator on a whole new level that does not seem to be such an effort or struggle.

These are just a few ways to recreate prayer and find different ways to make it a desired part of our days. Making prayer something we want to do and find ourselves doing several times a day is the end goal. We do not want it to be something we schedule 5 minutes out for in the morning as we wake up, take 30 seconds out to do before a meal, and another 5 minutes out to do as we are half asleep on our pillow. We want to come before The Throne regularly and consistently. This helps us each hour of our day and brings us closer in relationship to God with each and every beat of our heart and word from our soul. Give your true self to God…the heartbreak, the joy, the serious, the silly, and the everyday mundane. He treasures it all, and it is His greatest joy to be your rock as you walk through every moment of every day. Talk to Him, listen for Him, and pray like it is your lifeline each time…because it is! Be blessed, sweet readers, you are so precious!

January 27, 2015

I'm Back And Have Missed You So!

Oh my goodness...it stopped it right in the middle of the video and THAT'S the freeze frame it gives? Some mutant, droopy-eyed, scary face of me? Thanks YouTube! Well, if you aren't scared to watch the video after seeing that, then I am grateful for you! Enjoy, and I will see you tomorrow! ~Debbie~

January 12, 2015

Keeping Momentum 365 Days

You've worked all week, the kids have tried your patience, you've missed activities that you have committed to because of unscheduled interruptions we call life. How do you stay on track? How do you keep momentum going to push forward, to bring the most positivity out of your situation, and to focus on maintaining your momentum? All of that while trying to balance so much that comes at you on a daily, sometimes even hourly, basis. Keeping momentum...not just for an hour, not just for your work day, but we are talking 365 days a year. How do we keep pushing forward in our walk with the Lord, how do we keep that balance in family and work to be sure that we are not distracted by the world's chaos? We do it by taking a step back, breathing, and reminding ourselves of God's promises. Living the Word every day through our lives and our actions. This is what helps keep momentum. This is what gives us gives us strength. This is the only sure hope that we can make it through.

1 Corinthians reminds us that if we stand our ground, nothing we do will come out empty and that we will bear fruit . No matter how hard, no matter how ridiculed or chastised we are for our choice to stand up for Christ and to live a right life; if we persevere and push through, everything we will have done will be used for the good of the kingdom if we do not hold back. Remember that, and that can help keep you pushing forward to fight the good fight. “With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 MSG)

Speaking of pressing on, Philippians shows us this same concept. Looking for the finish line, not getting focused in what is tripping us up right now or how much farther we still have to go. We need to focus on today, battle today, because tomorrow will have a whole other set of circumstances that we need to focus on in that time. But each day if we push forward searching for the finish line and that beautiful ribbon that we can raise our hands high and run through with our heads held high and smiling in victory, then our prize is eternity with Christ. We can have that, we can cross that finish line...but not without momentum. “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:14 NLT)

James 1 goes on to tell us that we WILL have trials, we WILL have tests in this life. That is part of living in an imperfect world and a corrupt society. But we are given the tools to persevere, we are given the promises that we don't have to walk through these fires alone. There is no temptation that can come before us that the Lord does not give us a way out of, if only we want it bad enough. Temptations of the mind to worry, control, and stress. Worries of the flesh to be less than honorable with our eyes, thoughts, or body. Temptations of power with money, position, and manipulation. But when we choose right choices and when we persevere--when we walk through that fire-- James 1 shows us that we will receive the crown of life. This is been promised to us generations back from Our Almighty Father himself. We know He is perfect, we know He is all-knowing, and we know He never fails. So we can hold that deeply in our hearts and know that we WILL have hard times, we WILL face circumstances where we are scared, we are hurt, we are betrayed, we are worried, we fail others ...but if we look to God to get us through those circumstances we can stay on the right path. We CAN live an honorable and godly life, and we CAN receive that crown to have placed upon our head as we cross that finish line we spoke of earlier. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:2 NIV)

In closing, I want to turn to Romans. This specific Scripture kind of wraps this all up and embodies everything we just have gone over. Basically stated, there's so much more to come than we can see. God knows so many things that we don't know. Do we want to give up, settle for less, live less respectable then we could...especially if we don't know the circumstances, outcomes, consequences, or what it will cost us in the end? There is more to come, there are riches and glory beyond our wildest dreams; the ones that we store up for heaven. But we have to keep pushing forward, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Exhausting? Absolutely. Even just saying that you may say that is impossible. However, there is one thing we know about God; that all things are possible with God. Romans remind us of being overshadowed in trouble, of us losing our patience, of a feeling that we got the short end of the stick. But what's the truth? The truth is God is there all the time, we need only to go to Him and ask Him for help. “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 5:3 MSG)

Continue praising Him through the hard times, asking Him to give us patience in the trying times, asking Him to keep our respect and purity in our marriages and relationships, asking Him to help us keep our head free from pride when it comes to control or power in career or friendships. One Scripture that really puts it into perspective for us is this one…when we think our lives and trials are more than we can bear and that we will not be able to make it through, memorize this Scripture and keep it close to your heart to remind yourself of how much smaller everything is than it truly seems sometimes, and of the continual blessings that God pours down on you: “Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up.” (Hebrews 12:3 GNB)
The Holy Spirit and the Lord wants to pour into our lives in a way that we can't even comprehend. He has so much waiting for us at that finish line and He aches for us to claim our prize. To claim our prize we must finish the race, to finish the race we must maintain momentum. Sometimes it doesn't look like it's worth it in the moment, but I am telling you...it is certainly worth it at the final destination. Won't you all please keep momentum with me? Keep your eyes on the prize, and walk with me...no, RUN full speed with me through that finish line to receive your crown!

January 10, 2015

Giveaway Winner Announcement!!!

GIVEAWAY WINNER!!! Our winner of the Beth Moore "Living Beyond Yourself" Bible study on the fruit of the spirit is.......{drum roll}.........Doreen Hayes!!! Congrats Doreen, be sure I have your address so I can send your prize off next week! Our next giveaway will begin on January 19th and will be announced here! Thanks for entering everyone!

January 9, 2015

Year's Goals...Christ's Grasp

We are over one week into a brand new year. A clean slate of 365 days to make our lives count. What choices have you made: is there something that you want to improve upon this year? Is there a group or event that you want to get involved in? Is there a fear you want to finally put aside and just jump in with both feet to try? Well, today we are talking about this year's goals. A goal is a realistic and attainable vision that has a timeline of accomplishment. Goals can be big, small, and they can even change as they progress. But the important thing that we want to talk about today is making sure that our goals and visions align with God's will. We should walk like Christ and make decisions with our eternal outcome in mind. We should do our best to walk upright every day, give joy and love to others, and be full of forgiveness and empathy. These are the characteristics that Jesus embodied as he walked upon our earth as a sinless human. These are also the characteristics that God calls us to seek out in ourselves, the attributes that He wants to refine in us to make us as close to walking in the image of Christ as possible. When it comes to allowing Christ to have a grasp on our hearts and our minds, we need to be in the Word of God. We cannot live our lives right or make sound choices if we are not breathing in Scripture of God's instruction book ,which gives us all of the answers of how to live a Christian life and what will reap the most abundant rewards not only in heaven but on this earth while we're here. So how do we do that, how do we live in God's will and reap rewards on this earth in a world that is so corrupt and twisted, but still focus on our eternal treasures we are storing up for heaven?

John 7:17 ESV "If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority". In other words if you want to do God's will, you will read His Word. By doing this you will know what He wants for your life, what He finds acceptable and unacceptable, and what can hinder you having a relationship with Him.

Romans 2:12 MSG "If you sin without knowing what you are doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you were doing, that's a different story entirely. Merely hearing God's law is a waste of your time if you don't do what He commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God". This is a very strong warning to us that if we are walking as Christians we need to make sure that our minds, our attitudes, and our behaviors mirror that of Christ. We can't read God's Word and ask Him to bless us and do His Will through us if we are knowingly doing things that are reprehensible and sinful to the flesh in His eyes. We cannot just read the Word and say we are Christians, we have to live the Word and breathe the Word every single day in our walk.

Romans 8:27 NIV "And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God". When we pray to God and ask Him to make our heart like His and ask Him to help us be a good and wholesome person that serves and loves on others, He imparts His Will on us. If we truly love Our Heavenly Father and want to live out His plan for our lives, we need to fall into His plan. He knows all and can do a much better job governing our life if we give it over to Him.

Matthew 6:33 GNT "Be concerned about everything else with the kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things". Simply put, put God first and make him the center of everything you do and everything you are, and He will take care of the rest. He will provide for you, He will find the perfect partner for you, He will show you how to have joy even in stormy circumstances. With God as your center, you can walk through fire without being burned or even carrying the slightest smell of smoke.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths". We all know this Scripture well probably, but it is one of my favorite in the Bible. It constantly reminds me that God's ways are always best. He sees the end whereas we don't even see 5 minutes in front of us. Who would you rather have making your decisions and choices and guiding your path...yourself and other humans that are just as clueless about the future and what their life holds, or our sovereign God who knows how our life ends far before it even begins?

Matthew 6:21 NLT "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be also". This reminds us to be careful of our actions and the way we treat others. It reminds us to be faithful, committed, kind, forgiving, loving, merciful, and graceful. Because whatever we consider as important, that's what holds our heart. If we consider this world and all of its torment and temptations as what we are focusing on and want to fall prey to, then that's where we store our treasures, that's where the pain and misery of our lives will be stuck when things fall apart. But when we have the desires of our heart aligned with God's will, that is where abundant life, joy in all circumstances, and assurance of eternity at Jesus' feet become a reality.

1 Corinthians 10:21, 31 AMP "You cannot drink the Lord's cup and the demons Cup. You cannot partake of the Lord's table and the diamond stable. So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God". This is similar to the Scripture stating that we cannot serve two masters, stating that we cannot do God's Work and then let money or other masters rule us on this earth. This is very black and white, the same as the words in the Bible. You choose to live worldly, or you choose to live for Christ. If you even dip a toe into Satan's side, you have no business serving the Lord. This may seem harsh, but God does this for our own protection. He knows how crafty and manipulative the enemy can be and that even the slightest little temptation we give into can cause our minds or our hearts to quickly become blackened and spread to the point that we fall far away from God and become people who are doing things that we will sorely regret and cannot take back. So let's focus on taking the Lord's cup, and being at the Lord's table. The one place that is preparing a mansion for us in heaven. I want the mansion, not this world. So let's make sure that this year we strive to make sure our goals are strongly grasped by Christ's attributes and characteristics. Then we can guarantee we will be making the right choices and living the best life possible for ourselves and others. Have a beautiful day sweet readers, & I will be back with you on Monday!

January 8, 2015

Today's Video and Recipe !!!

Hey everyone, happy Thursday! Here is our recap video of the week, and a peek into next week. Below the video you will find our recipe of the day which is Hot Buttered Lemonade. For y'all that are freezing in the Midwest and East coast, this one's for you!!! See you all tomorrow with a new article. Be blessed, stay snuggly warm, and remember how favored you are!



Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients• 3 cups water
• 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2/3 cup palm sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
• 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine
• 3 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Directions1. In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer water, lemon juice, sugar and lemon peel until sugar is dissolved.
2. Pour into mugs; dot each with butter. Drop in a cinnamon stick, if desired. Serves four and is super cozy!

January 7, 2015

Life Word and Verse For 2015...What's Yours?

While everyone is busy trying to stick with their resolutions, or second guessing them, I'm coming to you today excited to give you an alternative to a typical resolution. We're going to talk about finding your life word and verse for 2015. So first we need to talk about what a life word and verse is, and next why do we choose one, and finally how do you choose one or how will you know what's right for you. So let's get to it!

What is a life word and verse - a life word basically is a pretty simple concept, it is a single word that resonates most deeply with you as something that you want to focus on throughout this year to understand better or to dig deeper into with your daily life. Basically it can be used as a term to focus on in order to become more mindful and to practice a new behavior and mindset. This helps keep you focused and committed to a specific goal throughout the year and it can allow you to come back when you get off track, by reminding yourself of what your focus is and what you're supposed to be rooted in this year. Some people's life word stays the same for multiple years as they continue to refine and grow in that purpose, and some people change their's every year as the Lord leads them. 

The life verse is basically a verse that coincides with the word you have chosen. It is something that should remind you of why you chose that word, what you are trying to learn or understand about that word, and how it relates to you personally. It should be a scripture that you can memorize and keep tucked away in your heart and mind to give you strength and accountability as you return to it in study and meditation.

Now, why do we choose a word and verse instead of just doing a basic resolution or going through our Bible studies as normal and not pinpointing a certain word or Scripture in the Bible for ourselves? Well, the reason we do this is because our lives get so busy, so scattered, and so full of attention on other things that we often forget to focus on growth for ourselves in a specific area that we have had struggles in. Sometimes we brush it under the rug, sometimes we just don't know how to approach it to learn more about ourselves or to grow. So by doing this we can have something that we can call our own to focus on and help us reach out to Christ and ask him to refine us, show us what we need to change or what we need to learn about ourselves through this word and through the Scriptures. We can also use it to learn more about others and to better relate to them and love on them. Instead of something that is fleeting, like a resolution or a temporary promise, this is a focus in God's Word of something within you that you want to re-purpose and live out in a more meaningful way.

Finally, how will you choose your word and verse, and how on earth will you even know what fits best for you in this season of life? The first part of that is an easy answer, pray to God. God will reveal to you the parts of your heart and your being that He wants to transform, grow, or sometimes eliminate all together. If you pray to the Lord and seek earnestly for His answer of what you can change about yourself, what you can make better, and how you can be the best you this year and be able to give back to others the best way possible- He will speak to you and reveal something that will help you in your journey and in your walk. Even if you don't understand it but you're continually getting confirmation of a certain Scripture that keeps coming to mind, a certain word that just keeps weighing heavily on your heart. Those are the signs of how God is trying to speak to you and let you know what His Will is for you. The second way is to just look within yourself and see perhaps something you've been struggling with, or something that you have wanted to change for so long and you just feel so lost and don't know how to approach it. Ask God to reveal to you the perfect Scripture and word that correlates to that behavior, habit, or attitude that you want to cleanse yourself from. He will always show you the right way and He will always reveal the best purpose for your calling and for His Kingdom. You can also ask others around you. Don't be afraid to ask what qualities they see in you that they really love, what things they see in you that they feel you're still timid about or may need to blossom in. Constructive criticism from godly counsel or another practicing Christian is an invaluable resource, however, always make sure that you get confirmation from the Lord as He is the only one that has the sure answer on these things.

So basically just pray on it, look into your own heart - you know yourself better than any other human on the earth, so trust in that and know what you start to seek out what you want to focus on this year, what you want to improve, who you want to be. That should lead you to a Scripture verse, and then you can start growing and becoming accountable in that area so that by the end of the year you should see a huge transformation in that specific area of you as a person or in your life. This is why we choose one word, because we have a habit of wanting to change everything at once and solve every problem, and in essence what we end up doing is pretty much giving just a little piece of ourselves here and there, and here and there again, and never really focusing in deeply to change one specific area before we move on to something else.

That's what we want to attempt to do here; let's focus on this one characteristic, this one heart struggle, whatever it might be for you - then let the Lord refine it, grow it, eliminate it from our life if that is His Will. But to do that we have to pray to Him, we have to choose our word and verse, study it and memorize it, and apply it daily to our lives. If any of you need help finding your one word or need Scripture help to be pointed in the right direction to something that correlates to a word you've already chosen - please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to counsel you in that area and see if we can go to the Lord in partnership and ask that you are led to the perfect word and verse for 2015- a word that will make this the abundant life and year that God desperately wants for you. You all are so precious and favored in the Lord's eyes, and I am excited to be with you on this journey.

My word for 2015 is "loved" - I want to focus on knowing my worth through Christ's eyes, find value in myself, and remind myself of the sacrifice he made because I am loved. My verse for 2015 is Zephaniah 3 :17. This scripture states, "The LORD your God is with you; his power gives you victory. The LORD will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you". Would you all leave a comment with your word if you have chosen one, as well as your Scripture if you have one. If you don't have both or either yet, feel free to say that as well and I will be happy to reach out to you and see what we can partner in to make sure that you have your word and verse for the year. Thank you sweet readers, & I will be back with you tomorrow with a short video and on Friday we have our next article. Be blessed!

Today's Recipe!

Aaaahhhh, here we go...the fooooood! Today's recipe, as promised, are delicious Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies! These are soft, flavorful, and are wonderful to put in a little treat bag and pass out to neighbors and your favorite businesses. Happy eating, and stay tuned for our article later today!



  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tsp organic powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Additional powdered sugar, for rolling


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate chips. If dough is too soft, chill it until you can work it easily with your hands.
  3. Scoop 1 tablespoon balls of dough and place on prepared cookie sheet.
  4. Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes until bottoms are just slightly brown. Remove from oven and cool for just a minute, until you can handle them. Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar and roll each cookie in the sugar until coated. Place on a rack to cool.  (Once cookies are cooled, you may want to re-roll them in more powdered sugar.)
Mmmmmm-mmmmmm!!!! Enjoy!! :)

January 5, 2015

Resolutions vs. Newness

Hello everyone! Here we are, our first FULL blog article of the year. I cannot believe we are five days into 2015! Time is already flying even faster this year. So before we get to the point that we don’t even realize months have passed us by, I want to talk to you today about a very important reminder…your new self, which you are graced with when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.

There are two views we can take in this lifetime when it comes to the way we change, the goals we set, and the behaviors we modify. We can choose that of the world, or that of Jesus. The way I always think of it is by dissecting two specific words: newness and resolution. Resolution is temporary, it is done with good intentions but very little follow through, and it is something that we often do in order to look better to others and be held high or credited for our accomplishments. But is that what we want—recognition from the world? Maybe…but why? Can they save us? Can they plan our path for eternity? Will they even be here for us tomorrow when we wake up? Sadly, the answer to all of those is, no. Resolutions are fleeting, resolutions are worldly based, and resolutions are lighthearted promises to self or others.

But what if there were something more—what if there was such a thing as forever, permanent, genuine? There is…and his name is Jesus. He came to save us, and God graciously gave us His only begotten Son so that we might live and have everlasting life. Isn’t that a beautiful word…everlasting! So I like to focus on the word “newness”. Newness means a fresh start, a clean slate, a gift of another chance. Romans 6:4 (NASB version) tells us, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

The ultimate sacrifice, the maximum price. Jesus gave himself to pay for our sins: past, present, and future. He was pure, sinless, and perfect. We are the complete opposite of all of those things, yet his love for us knows no bounds, and he believes we are worth every lashing, every ridicule, every thorn, every drop of spit cast upon him. We…are…worth…it. He makes us new. It is nothing we do in or of ourselves, it is a gift he has willingly and lovingly bestowed upon us. Newness, a second chance (and sometimes third, fourth, hundredth, and so forth). When we accept Jesus our sinful selves and old habits and patterns are washed away and we become a brand new person from the inside out. Does this mean we will never sin again, we will never fall back into patterns, and we will immediately quit bad habits? Absolutely not. The Christian walk is the long and narrow one, full of many struggles, trials, and often a target on our back that Satan gladly aims at relentlessly. But we now have a Savior to walk us through the storms. We have a mighty protector and counselor who can help us to walk more like him in our attitudes, habits, behaviors, and choices.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) There is your proof, there is your confirmation. God himself shows us that when we accept Christ into our hearts, we will become new. Capable of things we never thought possible and able to walk through fire if we are called to for our purpose in God’s Kingdom. Through our own strength we cannot accomplish this, but with newness in Christ we are given something divinely important to our Christian walk: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He is always there—protecting, watching, guiding, listening. But it is up to us to follow the Holy Spirit and allow our choices to align with God’s Will. God gave us free will for a reason, but He also gave us His instruction book (the Bible) as a step-by-step guide to the RIGHT way to walk through this life morally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He gives us every tool and every promise; newness in Christ comes when we use those tools and believe in those promises.

One of my favorite verses in the entire Bible can be found in John 15:5. The NET version says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me – and I in him – bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing.” Isn’t that a comforting Scripture? It really reminds us of just how small we are in the big scheme of things. Without God NOTHING is possible, and with God ALL things are possible. We are an extension of Him and His Holy attributes. He longs for us to become new creations and walk in the righteous path He has tenderly placed at our feet, though we do not even come close to deserving it. He wants us to live abundantly, bear fruit, and live life full of joy. But we cannot do that if the world is in us or if we are not willing to pick up our cross and die daily to who we are, in order to become who God has designed us to be.

So which will you choose—resolutions which point to a worldly tradition and are done fleetingly with no follow through, or newness which places before you the ability to store up treasures for heaven and the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus and see our Heavenly Father face-to-face in eternity. I choose newness and the chance to live and love as Jesus did. I would love to have you on that same path, walking hand-in-hand with me as we enjoy abundant life and beauty with a new heart, mind, and soul.

January 3, 2015

Welcome To The Weekend!

Hello, sweet readers! Happy Saturday! As promised today we have a video with a little info about the week to come, and the entry form for the first giveaway of the year! Well, the video should explain it all...so go ahead and click and see all we have going on this coming week!

P.S....Yes, the video shows the books backwards, but you get the idea...like I said, newbie here and y'all are my guinea pigs! Grateful for you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a beautiful first full week of January!


January 2, 2015

Digging Our Heels In...

Hello, sweet readers! It's that time...the New Year celebrations are over and it is time to focus on embracing each day and all that God gives us in the moments we have. I wanted to do this post earlier, but it has been a bear of a week. I have actually logged over 135 hours with my work over the last two weeks, so I have barely had a moment to breathe! But I promised the first post today, and I want to be sure I hold myself accountable and follow through for y'all! So let's get to it!

I want to let you know 3 things today:
1) What we will be discussing in blog articles for the month of January.
2) What our first fun giveaway prize will be, and how you can enter.
3) Our first recipe of the year, and why I am adding recipes to the blog.
4) The story behind the videos (of which I will post tomorrow since...well, you know, my bear of a week prevented me from having the time, focus, or necessary hair/make-up days to get it recorded)!

So, heeeeeere we go (so excited to share)!!!:

1) Blog articles for January- the topics we will be covering are: Newness In Christ/Resolutions, Life Words and Verses for 2015, Year's Goals-Christ's Grasp, Keeping Momentum 365 Days, Making Prayer Time New, Community and Connection, Keeping Accountable and Committed, Ways To Study and Apply Scripture, De-Stressing Your Schedule, Get Out-Get In Touch, Plan Your Passions, The Year of "What-If", Bibles-How To Choose What's Right For You, Family and Fellowship, Devotionals and Their Purpose, Quality of God vs. Quantity Of This World, I'm Not A Status-I'm Loved By A Savior

2) A freebie already? Well of course! What better way to start the year than in serving, giving, and love! So our first giveaway will begin tomorrow and go through the 10th of January. I will have a Rafflecopter form that I will post right here on the blog tomorrow morning. Just follow the instructions to enter (simple stuff) and THIS is what you can win! A brand-new copy of Beth Moore's Bible study entitled "Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring The Fruit Of The Spirit". I absolutely love meditating over and breathing in God's fruits of what makes us good stewards and what embodies who He is. I am hoping some of you will want the chance to study this as well! Winners for all giveaways will be chosen at random by the Rafflecopter program.

3) And now for one of my favorite things....foooooood!!! For those of you who know me well, I am and always have been a total foodie. I love to be in the kitchen baking, cooking, and creating (and can often be found sharing pictures of my freshly made goodies)! So I want to share with you all as well...twice a week I will post a recipe I like (typically one food recipe and one drink recipe) that I hope you will find yourself drooling over and wanting to try! They may be simple snacks, full course meals, or sweet desserts. But rest assured, they will make you want to snuggle up with a plate or cup of something tasty! This week's recipe is one I chose because it is quick, easy, my kids LOVE it, and with school coming back in session in a few days, it's the perfect time to share! I hope your little's will like it!


Celery stalks (4)
Raspberry flavored cream cheese or peanut butter (1/3 cup)
Dried cranberries or raisins (1/4 cup)

Cut stalks into approximately 3-inch pieces and peel off strings. Spread your choice of cream cheese or peanut butter on each piece. Sprinkle cranberries or raisins on top. Put a few in a ziplock bag and include in the kids' lunches for a fun treat. I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon on top of mine for some of that "dirt" effect, and it adds great flavor!

4) Weekly videos are something else new I am implementing. Now, is this because I like looking at myself or the sound of my voice? Absolutely not! I am trying to become more personally involved with you beautiful people, and I feel a voice and a face helps to make that connection. I can pour my heart out into words, but sometimes when you see the blessings and joy you bring me through my voice and smile it helps to capture it a little better. I also am using you as guinea pigs for some upcoming ministry videos I will be doing ;) So I will be posting a weekly video talking a little about each topic, the giveaway/FB party that may be going on, the recipes that will be forthcoming that week, and just sharing my thoughts and excitement with you about our time together! I will post the first video tomorrow, and I am so looking forward to writing more posts and recipes! 

So that is is my beloved's...the coming posts will be much deeper, contain more insight, have much better planning and forethought, dig into Scripture, and be a lot of fun! But as I said, I wanted to follow through on my promise to y'all, as you are a treasure to me. Writing and serving makes me want to wake up each morning and puts an unexplainable calmness and happiness in my heart. Through this blog I am not serving you all, YOU are serving and blessing me. Thank your or being a part of this, and I look forward to big things right here at Life, Love, Lessons & The Lord in 2015! See you tomorrow!


January 1, 2015

Let's Ring It In, Everyone!

Brand new chance, everyone. Let's do it right. Happy 1st day of 2015!

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow for our VERY FIRST blog article of the year...it will include details on what we will be discussing this month, a sneak peek at our first giveaway, a fun recipe, and a short video! See y'all again soon!